Montenegro Extended ‘Golden Passport’ Program Despite EU Criticism... to secure a robust Plan B
Montenegrin government session in Podgorica. (Photo: Government of Montenegro)
Helping you secure a robust Plan B, Too late for applying the Montenegro CBI program before the end of 2021? The country’s Citizenship By Investment program has been extended. But, it’s gotten more expensive...
As an added benefit, you can apply fully remotely.
On 29 December 2021, the Government of Montenegro decided to extend its investor citizenship programme for a further 12 months. The programme was officially established by the former DPS-led government in 2018, with an implementation window between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2021 and a cap of 2,000 applications.
“In the next month, all investors that already requested citizenship must submit to the Government a bank guarantee – in the amount of 50 per cent of the investments prescribed by the program. All new applicants must pay 100,000 euros to the state budget and another 100,000 for regional development,” the government said in a press release.
The Montenegrin government was not unanimous in its support for the renewal of the investor citizenship scheme. The proposal by the Minister of Economic Development was met with objections from the Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs, whose competences include citizenship and European integration, respectively.
In 2010, the former government under Milo Djukanovic started three “economic citizenship” schemes, initially selling passports to “renowned businessmen of credible reputation” if they invested at least half a million euros.
In January 2019 - the recent program was launched for foreign investors ;
at least 250,000 euros in undeveloped regions in the north of the country
or 450,000 euros in more developed regions in the centre and south.
According to government data,108 foreign citizens, mostly from Russia and China, have granted Montenegrin citizenship by buying apartments in condo hotels in coastal and mountain towns or by donating money to underdeveloped areas.
On March 31, the new government which came to power after the electoral defeat of Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists DPS announced that the economic citizenship program will be terminated by the end of 2021 because it could slow Montenegro’s accession to the European Union.
But on December 30, Minister of Economic Development Jako Milatovic said the the program of economic citizenship was helping the country’s development.
“It will make Montenegro a regional leader in allocating money for innovation. By developing tourism, we strongly support the development of innovation – as the foundation of accelerated economic development,” Milatovic posted on Twitter.
While media reported that the Interior Minister, Sergej Sekulovic, and Foreign Minister, Djordje Radulovic, voted against extending the program, civic organizations warned that the decision could endanger the country’s EU path.
The sale of citizenships to foreign investors was also criticized by the European Commission, which raised concerns that it could be used for tax avoidance, money-laundering or dodging prosecution in other jurisdictions. This year’s progress report by the European Commission said that Montenegro should effectively phase out this investor citizenship scheme.
Why Montenegro could be a great option to secure your plan B in 2022...
Apart from being a compelling Plan B destination today, Montenegro is expected to join the EU by around 2025 (never guaranteed). But if and when that happens, the Montenegro passport will become an EU passport – giving you the right to work and live in any of the other EU countries as well as Switzerland - the Montenegrin CBI passport would be a bargain compared to what you’d pay for a Maltese CBI passport.
Montenegro is a beautiful country offering one of the lowest costs of living in Europe and the
lowest taxation (flat 9% on most types of incomes), it is a country that could tick all the boxes for a wide range of people. And thanks to the government’s decision to extend its Montenegrin CBI program for another 12 months, you now still have the chance to become Montenegrin. Learning Montenegrin, or spending any requisite amounts of time living there is not necessary to grant montenegrin citizenship in keeping your nationality of origin..
Key program details Unlike with most CBI programs, where you either donate to the government or invest in local real estate, you are required to do both in Montenegro. First, you need to make a €100,000 donation to the government fund intended for under-developed areas of the country. And, as of January 1, 2022, you also need to donate an additional €100,000 to the newly announced “Montenegrin Innovation Fund”. And finally, you must invest in a government-approved real estate project. You can either invest:
+€250,000 in a project located in the less developed Northern and Central parts of the country,
OR +€450,000 in a project located in the country’s more developed and “desirable” areas – in the capital of Podgorica, or anywhere along the coast.
Out of the 15 approved projects to choose from, 11 are located in the north of Montenegro. And to make investing in the north more attractive, the price there has been lowered to €250,000.
Program costs for 2022
- Podgorica, capital of Montenegro -